Dusty Baker was officially hired as the new manager of the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, after Bud Black turned down the opening over a contract dispute.
Baker got his first taste of the D.C. sports scene on Wednesday night, attending the Washington Wizards’ home game against the visiting San Antonio Spurs with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
Baker and Rizzo were both shown on the Verizon Center jumbotron around the start of the second quarter and got a nice round of applause …
San Diego announced Tuesday that it had exercised a $7.5 million club option on Joaquin Benoit, but it doesn’t sound like the veteran reliever is going to open the 2016 season in a Padres uniform.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Benoit “is available for trade right now.”
The 38-year-old posted his worst K/9 since 2008 this past season for Friars and he walked 23 batters in 65 1/3 innings, but he still managed a 2.34 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while securing 36 holds.
With so many contenders (and non-contenders) seeking relief help this offseason, there could be a trade market out there for a guy like Benoit. There has also been some chatter about the Padres moving high-priced closer Craig Kimbrel this winter.
Alex Gordon has, as expected, declined his $12.5 million player option for the 2016 season, the Royals announced Wednesday evening. The 31-year-old outfielder will officially become a free agent on Friday.
Gordon posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 104 games this season for the World Series champions while continuing to play elite-level defense in left field. He has averaged a .281/.359/.450 slash line with 18 homers and 72 RBI over the last five seasons and is going on his fifth straight Gold Glove Award.
Gordon should do very well for himself this winter, even on the wrong side of age 30.
We’re looking at a stacked free agent class in the outfield between Gordon, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Dexter Fowler.
Colby Rasmus, Denard Span, Austin Jackson, and Gerardo Parra are also available.
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I find a stadium that has nice weather year-round and rip tee shots from the upper deck.”
Ah yes, the famous Rogers Hornsby quote.
The San Diego Padres have teamed up with Callaway Golf to transform Petco Park into a 1,002-yard, nine-hole, par-3 course, and it looks absolutely awesome …
The original plan was to make this a three-day event, but demand was so high that the Padres and Callaway extended it to five days. And every tee time has already sold out. Here’s a layout of the temporary nine-hole course, from MLB.com’s Corey Brock …
Kansas Citians came out in droves to celebrate the Royals’ first World Series championship on Tuesday afternoon. According to some estimates, there were 800,000 people lining the streets and lots and green spaces downtown — in a metro area of about 2 million. Local school districts canceled classes and many KC area businesses apparently followed suit.
Relive the joy with this video recap from MLB.com …